I should warn you – just like the path my life has taken, this blog will unlikely be very linear. If you are one that needs to read things in proper chronological order then you are probably going to be pretty disappointed. Sometimes to get where we want (or need) to be, we must take unconventional, sometimes quite uncomfortable paths. So, you’ve been warned.
I want to start this by saying that I appreciate those people in my life who have supported me the last two years. Some have been in my life for years and some just months. It doesn’t matter the longevity of a friendship; it’s the quality. And you know what? I have been abundantly blessed with high-quality friends. Some days, I’ll admit, I don’t feel worthy of what has been gifted to me via these relationships. Those feelings, however, are becoming less frequent as the value I see in myself grows. It has taken time. And it hasn’t always been pretty. Growth is amazing and also so very painful at times. But that’s not really the point here.
A little over two years ago, my world was flipped upside down with no warning. Every thing that I thought I knew was gone and the stability and future that I had was ripped out of my hands. Since that day, I have had so many ups and downs. At times, I have allowed the most negative thoughts to invade my mind. At other times, I have said “this is the happiest I have been in a very long time.” Imagine that roller coaster of emotions and thoughts. It is exhausting. But what has been nearly equally exhausting is trying to manage other people’s expectations of where I should be at this time or that time. See, when your husband abandons you and the life you built with no notice, people don’t know what to say. And they certainly don’t know how you feel. I understand that. I really do. I have found myself without words at times because I don’t always understand the situations others are experiencing.
Here is what I found happening over and over. Judgment. Of him. Of me. Of my progress towards “getting over it.” All of it. Naturally my friends and family are going to say and do what they can do “defend” me. It’s what your people do. Your true people. They will go to battle for you because they want to see you happy. But it wasn’t making me happy. Not really. Sure, I laughed at times. I even agreed because some of the things being said were true. Inside, though, it was eating me up. I can only speak for myself, but even though he did a really terrible thing to me on many levels, the heart and the brain do not always agree. And honestly, at times I can understand some of the demons that drove him to do what he did. Or at least I think I can. I have had a very difficult time convincing my heart what my head mostly knows and that is that it is over. He made a choice and I can’t change it. I wasn’t a part of the decision. It happened and it hurts and it angers me and some days it makes me unbearably bitter. But it happened. And yet a part of me still loves him. I don’t know if that will ever go away completely. I don’t know if I want to be the kind of person who completely allows the love to drain away. After all, we had a lot of amazing experiences together and many, many days he loved me greatly.
So where am I going with this? I’ve finally come to the realization that I do not have to manage anyone’s expectations other than my own and their judgment is their judgment. It’s their problem, not mine. I think this thought hit me hard on my recent vacation with a few amazing friends. In one of many heart-to-heart talks I had with B on the trip, I told her that I think that if “P” showed up at my house and said he had made a mistake, I would probably take him back. Now, I want you to imagine this strong, smart, loving southern woman’s reaction to that after so many conversations about the hurt and the challenges in the wake of his abrupt exit and the tears she has mopped up. It wasn’t pretty. It was basically “HELL NO YOU WOULD NOT.” Or something like that. 🙂 As that evening went on and our other friends joined the conversation, it started to occur to me that I am the only one who can say when I’ve had enough. I’m the only one who can say when it’s time to truly let go. I’m the only one because I am the only one who truly knows the whole story (at least MY whole story.) I own that information. It’s mine. And with it, I get to decide when I am ready to really, truly walk away from my past. So I voiced it. And then some. I realized that if people love me and I mean truly love me unconditionally then they will understand that and therefore deserve a space in my life. If they don’t, well they can walk away from me because they just aren’t worthy of my friendship.
It’s that simple.